Many Christians have a heart for overseas missions but circumstances prevent them from going overseas themselves. With MissionAssist, you can have the opportunity to serve the Lord and missions without leaving your own home.
All of our members are volunteers who help out in their spare time. Currently, we have more than six hundred members, located all around the UK. The work that we do varies from academic to practical, and covers a wide variety of skills and experience. Click on either of the tabs below for more information of the skills we require. If you would like to offer your time and skills to help in this valuable service to mission workers overseas, please request an application form. (See the Membership tab below.)
- Academic Skills
- Creative Skills
- IT Skills
- Office Skills
- Organizational Skills
- Practical Skills
This is a special form of English that has been developed exclusively by MissionAssist to produce easy-to-understand reading materials for people whose first language is not English to produce Bible commentaries and studies. (More information of this can be found on our Projects page.) You will have experience of writing in English, good knowledge of grammar, and the ability to communicate ideas in simple terms.
We need to ensure that the commentaries and Scripture translations produced in EasyEnglish are theologically accurate. So, we are looking for people who can help with this theological checking. You will need a theological background, and an appreciation of the difficulties of translating using a word list of only a few thousand English words.
Before people can read the Bible they have to learn to read so we are helping to produce a series of simple reading booklets to help adults who want to learn the basics. The booklets we produce are very practical and deal with topics like health and hygiene, how to make items with local materials, basic repairs and animal husbandry. You should have an ability to shorten and simplify written materials, and have a clear writing style.
We have a small team of volunteers who are qualified in "Teaching English as a Further Language" (TEFL) and we are always looking for new members who are experienced in formal English teaching for non-English speakers. In addition, there is a good opportunity for volunteers to get involved in our less formal service of providing practice in English conversation. This does not require any formal qualifications; you just need to be willing to have English conversations, using one of the many online applications now available, such as Skype, Zoom or WhatsApp. Through such informal conversations, we hope to increase the knowledge of and fluency in English of the contacts or helpers of missionaries and translators to assist them in their work.
Each volunteer will be given some information about the clients and will be free to decide if they feel comfortable to speak with him or her. The conversations would normally just use day-to-day vocabulary with friendly enquiries and explanations. The opportunity for some simple teaching might occur from time-to-time, depending on yourself, but it is not expected. (English language advice from formally qualified members of the team would be available if ever required.) Typically, the conversations will occur just once or twice a week and will be at whatever time is mutually convenient. We also ask for prayer support for the clients.
If you are a fluent speaker of Chinese, Russian, Portuguese, Indonesian, French, Spanish, Italian or German you could be a translator for a mission worker. Many of them work in countries where the national language is not English. We get many requests to translate articles and texts both from major world languages into English and vice-versa. Long documents are broken down into smaller sections so no one volunteer gets asked to do too much. If you are able to help with this, we will want to know what is your first language and other languages you know, and if you have had any study experience in these and al if you have experience in translation work.
Mission workers often need their own copies of books that are hard to find from where they are. We have a team of people that search for these books in second-hand and antiquarian book stores, as well as on the internet. Additionally, many mission workers need access to books and technical articles that are only available from large university or national libraries. These articles are often about the people, group, or language, in the place where they are working. You should have personal access to a good university library or are a librarian yourself.
English language editing
English is spoken all around the world and, like Latin many years ago, often serves as the medium through which people learn and communicate. However, for many in the Church around the world, it is not their first language and, whilst people can speak it, they often find written documents much more challenging. We need people who have a good grasp of English grammar, and the ability to express ideas clearly and fluently, to support this service to the wider church.
DTP and design
While literacy is an essential part of Bible translation work, there is a need for reading books to be properly designed and laid out with appropriate line drawings and illustrations. So we require volunteers who are experienced in the use of computer aided graphics and desktop publishing to produce booklets on community health and development, practical skills, child care and many other topics in multi-language, international editions. The software packages we use include Microsoft Publisher and Microsoft Word as these are readily available in developing countries where the materials will be used.
We especially need people who have experience in applying paragraph styles and formatting Microsoft Word documents. Usually the documents we are working with are quite long. They may even be up to a book's size in length. So you will need to apply the paragraph styles consistently in order to get a professional appearance. We also have an occasional need to scan and run optical character recognition software, plus accurate proof reading to correct any errors.
Drawing and illustration
Do you have skills as an illustrator? We are looking for people who can help to produce line drawings to illustrate an important series of "How To Do It" booklets for new readers. The illustrations need to be crisp, decisive and realistic. They can be based on photographs.
Films, videos and photography
While modern technology has made it easy to produce films and videos on our smart phones and camcorders, we are looking for people with the necessary equipment, experience and creativity to produce high-quality publicity and training materials, both for us and for many of our clients. This will require any of a range of equipment and skills including script writing, sound production or film editing, and in still photography.
If you are an experienced programmer, able to produce programs for general use (primarily with Windows but also other operating systems), and you have determination to see a project through to completion in line with the client specifications, please contact us. We are particularly interested in those who have knowledge or experience of working with databases and web applications, especially mobile devices. Web developers with experience of using content management systems (particularly Joomla) would be warmly welcomed as well.
We offer to format a wide variety of documents for mission workers. To do this, members need to have above-average skills in word processing in order to create and apply consistent formats, meticulous attention to detail, and a high standard of grammar and punctuation. Desktop publishing skill is sometimes useful as well as an artistic ability. You will need to have your own software, especially a suitable word processor, such as Microsoft Word, or an equivalent package such as LibreOffice.
We support specialised websites that offer practical help for Christian workers overseas. We now manage several of our own sites, but also get occasional requests to design and build websites for various mission agencies. So, we are looking for people with well-developed skills in designing or managing web pages, particularly content management systems. Please let us know the kind of work you have done, and let us have the URLs for sites that you have helped to develop.
Some mission workers have only limited access to the internet. This means that we get occasional requests to find miscellaneous information about all sorts of things. It may be a case of shopping for specialised equipment, or tracking down rare books or sources of information. We don't get requests for this type of help every week, but we need a team of researchers who can go into action when help is needed. So, if you are a fan of the internet, and if you have a persistent approach that will work hard to find information, please contact us.
This is mainly for those of our members who have only a patchy knowledge of information technology. The system works through an administrator who maintains a list of people, according to their various areas of experience and expertise. When a request for help is received, the administrator will contact one or more of those with identified skills in that area and ask them to contact the member concerned.
One of the services that we provide currently is called remote accounting. It doesn't necessarily need being a qualified accountant but does require some financial acumen. This can involve a considerable commitment (depending on the size of the missionary branch being served) and is also a great opportunity to get more directly involved with those serving overseas.
We need a few people to help with file conversions, data checking and copying, scanning and cleaning graphic and OCR files and the digitisation of audio and video files to help with our "Bible for the future" project. If you have an archiving background and good computer skills, or if you just have good computer skills, a careful way of working and a desire to see the Bible preserved, then please contact us.
In many places around the world, it is not possible to use many of the technical services that we take for granted back home in the UK. However, many mission workers have found it useful to use a dictation machine to record spoken languages and interviews with language helpers. An important service we provide is to have these recordings transcribed. They come to us in various forms but we are usually able to provide our volunteer typists with CDs or Windows audio files from which they can work.
Most of the skills that we are looking for here are for use within our own organisation. Our members are scattered all over the UK and keeping in touch is essential for the smooth running of the service. So we are looking for anyone who has experience or skill at talking with people over the telephone. We are also on the lookout for people who are comfortable with public speaking or with writing and editing articles for general publication in order to promote MissionAssist and its various services more widely.
Many of our volunteers work in our keyboarding service which, to give it its full title, is the Worldwide Electronic Bible and Book Service (WEBBS). We are not looking for speed so much as accuracy. The "catch" is that most of our keyboarding work is not in English! However, you don't need to know any foreign languages and all you will need in the way of equipment is a personal computer. You won't have to use a special keyboard or other equipment. For every letter in the original language that is not on your keyboard, we ask you to type in a substitute character. To achieve the high level of accuracy that our clients need, we have developed special checking techniques that normally enable us to produce a very accurate version with virtually no mistakes. Our aim is to produce a typed copy that is entirely faithful to the original. We will normally send you about four chapters of the Bible at a time but if you find yourself unable to complete the work within the normal timescale on any occasion, we simply ask that you return it to us so that it can be assigned to another keyboarder.
While most of our efforts are directed towards external services for the mission workers around the world, we need those with specialist skills for our internal organisation. Our members work in their homes all around the UK and cannot easily come together for meetings or face-to-face discussions. So, we rely heavily on our team leaders (or coordinators), service group leaders, to ensure that people are kept in touch, know what's going on and get help and support as and when they need it.
If you have any experience of working with volunteers, have a friendly, encouraging nature, and prepared to serve a team of people, please contact us. Working with volunteers is different from the world of business. You have to get the best from your team without using the carrot of bonuses, and without using the stick of giving them a hard time.
Travel to and from airports in the UK is generally both tiring and expensive. Many long-distance overseas flights necessitate the use of the London airports in particular and this can take a significant toll on mission workers and their families, especially after a long journey. We are always looking for drivers who can pick up mission workers and their families and take them to or from the airports. This is very interesting work, and you will meet all kinds of people just coming from the field or heading back. You will need a reasonably sized car which can take both people and baggage. Your petrol expenses will be covered.
Hospitality and accommodation
Would you like to join our network of people in Britain who are willing to let mission workers stay for short periods with them? Sometimes this is just an overnight stop. We also have volunteers who have holiday accommodation and are willing to let mission staff and their families use this, either free or at cost. This can be a real blessing and help to the people who will stay with you. Normally overnight stays would be offered free.
Increasingly, we are helping people to do this online but sometimes it is still easier to go and buy what someone needs from local shops and then arrange for it to be shipped out to them. This applies particularly to items such as magazines, comics, and books that may no longer be available from mainstream suppliers, but can still be found in second-hand book shops and the like. This may sound like an easy job but, increasingly, we are finding that some requests are a real challenge. For example, replacement parts for technical items, such as printers or mobile phones, are often restricted to those countries where the original item was bought and cannot be sourced in the UK.
Do you subscribe to, or receive with a membership, any magazine or journal that goes into the (paper recycling) bin after you have read it? Would you be willing to post that on to a mission worker instead? Alternatively, would you consider starting a subscription specifically so that mission workers or their family members could regularly receive a magazine that they would really appreciate? Or perhaps you are in contact with mission workers and could ask if they would like to receive any specific magazine or journal?
MissionAssist is a Christian charity of home-based volunteers who serve world mission. One of our services is to match givers and receivers of magazines. Something to read from back home, including comics for children, can make a huge difference when living overseas. One example is a seven year old boy in Africa who would love to receive the "Match of the Day" magazine.
We are very grateful for all offers of support. However, as a faith-based charity, and because we are in contact with some people whose identity and location needs to be guarded, we would ask that anyone willing to send out magazines becomes a member of MissionAssist. This involves reading our policies and statement of belief then signifying your agreement to these on an application form. We welcome financial donations, of course, but that really is entirely optional.
As of January 2021, we are not seeking any specific, additional titles for people.
We depend on people around the world holding up our ministry before God in prayer. If you have a prayer ministry and would be prepared to support us in this way, please let us know. We will send you our prayer bulletin that is circulated roughly once a month. Most people receive it by email but we are happy to send a copy by post if you prefer. It is also available directly from the members' section on our website.
You may think that you do not have many practical skills but that you do have the spiritual gift of generosity. Perhaps you would like to enable others to serve by providing financial support. Money is not high on our agenda: service is. But, if giving money, rather than time or skill, is your way of serving the Lord and extending His Kingdom, then we would certainly like to hear from you.
MissionAssist is a Charitable Incorporated Organisation and all the work that we do has to be within the requirements of UK charity law. We have a board of trustees who oversee the work, but the critical people are our volunteers. To be a member, we ask you to sign up to the following:
- That you affirm our Statement of Belief.
- That you are willing to assign all "Intellectual Property Rights" (IPR) to MissionAssist in relation to any work you do for us. This only applies to work specifically done at our request or for MissionAssist, and there is a separate form of agreement in relation to any software development or design that you undertake for us.
- That you are in agreement with the need for confidentiality in terms of personal information that might come to your attention, and with regard to the location of sensitive areas of the world in which we might offer support.
- That you are willing to support the written policies of MissionAssist.
- That you agree to let us keep a record of the information you give us about your contact details, how you would like to help, and any other information that you supply. We have to ask this because of data protection legislation. These laws also require us to look after your data and not to give it to other people or organisations.
We also hope that, as a member of MissionAssist, you will be willing to participate in the work through prayer, active service and financial support, according to the time and abilities that you are able to offer. When becoming a member, we invite people not only to indicate which of our services they are interested in, but also what skills, experience and aptitudes they have. We are blessed with members with a wide range of skills and when we are trying to develop new work or expand and improve our working in existing services, this often means we can call on existing members to see if they are able to help. We maintain a membership database (controlled under the UK Data Protection Act) so that we can see who might be able to help to provide new or enhanced ways of working.
Members are invited, should they so wish, to make a voluntary donation of £25 a year to support the work financially so that MissionAssist can continue to provide a free service to its users. There may be people who are able to offer time but not money; they should not be discouraged because of a misunderstanding of the suggested donation. There is no formal commitment in being a member, either in time, money or availability. A member may wish to receive our mailings or emails but not become involved in anything else. There is also no reason why a member of MissionAssist cannot also be a member of "Wycliffe Associates" in another country, or a member of any other Bible translation or mission organisation.
If you would like to become a member of MissionAssist, you will need to download and complete our application form. You will also need to have read our policy statements and be prepared to give your assent to them. To start this process, please click on the button below.